The Athletic’s Phil Hay has dropped an update on Leeds United star Raphinha ahead of the Premier League clash against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
The winger has been caught up in the controversy that has seen Brazil look to ban several of its top players from turning out for their Premier League sides this weekend as a response to them not being made available for their international games over this past week.
And now, Hay has admitted that Marcelo Bielsa’s side look set to be without their Brazilian talisman against the Reds, although the ruling is also set to affect the Merseysiders as well.
He said: “Very much looking like FIFA will try and enforce a ban on Raphinha for not travelling to Brazil. Would affect Liverpool (Alisson etc) this weekend too. What a mess.”
Make no mistake about it, Bielsa and the club’s fans will be absolutely gutted over missing Raphinha versus Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The Brazilian has been a real breath of fresh air in the Premier League with the way he has adjusted to life in English football, scoring six times and providing a further nine assists in the top flight last season.
Raphinha’s displays had Leeds teammate Patrick Bamford hailing him after the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace earlier in the campaign, with the Englishman saying on Sky Sports: “I think, to be honest, he has been a steal for Leeds. I am surprised. As soon as he came in, you saw him in training, you know sometimes with players whether they are good or they are top class, and he really was. He stood out straightaway.
“I am surprised that bigger teams, more established Premier League teams I should say, haven’t taken a punt on him because he really is someone special, and he is young.”
While it is certainly only a small sample size, in the four games in which Raphinha did not feature last season, Leeds did not win, including disappointing defeat to the likes of Brighton and Leicester.
Given that he’s started all three of Leeds’ games this campaign, missing one of the Whites’ key performers for a game as big as the one against Liverpool on Sunday, is sure to have everybody gutted.
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